Stats Watch: Are we sitting comfortably?

Harsh reminders like September 11 and Auckland's power blackout highlight the need to ensure business continuity, especially given the always-on demand of enterprises keen to make their mark via the internet.

Harsh reminders like September 11 and Auckland's power blackout highlight the need to ensure business continuity, especially given the always-on demand of enterprises keen to make their mark via the internet.

"As a result, corporate investment in IT infrastructure designed to optimise business continuity will increasingly incorporate a security component," says IDC in a recent regional security report.

The previous "piecemeal", "bolted-on" and limited security environments have been exposed, it says, and the absence of a broader, consistent, comprehensive architectural approach "was clearly highlighted". Complacency around basic measures such as a firewall and antivirus software among smaller firms is rife. Security policies are no better.

IDC surveyed security solutions for Australasia, forecasting the market out to 2006 and pinpointing the challenges for business. The key ignition points for the market, it says, include the increased use of the internet and intranets, massively increased network access requirements, potential loss of physical and intellectual assets, hybrid virus threats, securing the personal information of customers, guaranteeing service levels and the rise of wireless links.

Few security vendors have targeted the region to date, says the research company, given the preponderance of small and medium-sized firms, which are not seen as a great growth market. Managed services might change this scenario, IDC says, though don't hold your breath too long.

IDC isolates several "decision drivers" for wannabe e-businesses: preventing unauthorised inside access while opening up to partners, knitting a seamless security infrastructure "fabric" and controlling sensitive data and assets. All while maintaining openness to customers.

The vendors clearly expect growth, particularly in not-unhealthy areas like services (see chart). Will IT managers play ball? All of the security segment growth rates are much higher than the overall IT growth rate, which is around 4% from 2002 to 2006, notes IDC NZ analyst Mark Cribbens.

Next week: How American IT managers have reacted to 9/11.

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